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Journalists' Strike All Too Convenient for Greek Govt

diloseis-ston-tupo-tou-manoli-karamolegkou-gia-tin-apagogi-touThis weekend will be too crucial for Greece as the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition is ready to pass austerity measures in parliament that would finish off what little is left of the Greek economy. The bills on pensions and taxation will hurt the recession-stricken Greeks very deeply. Courtesy of a government that came to power on the pledge to end austerity and abolish memoranda with creditors.
And all this will happen with no press coverage.
Greece’s Panhellenic Federation of Journalists’ Unions (POESY) have decided to join the 48-hour strike of all worker and professional unions on Friday and Saturday. It is the right of journalists to strike because they are hurt too by the reforms that would have their pensions cut.
However, in the past, reporters and media people used to go on strike a day before or a day after mass strikes so they would report on the protest rallies and inform the public. Yet, in the past two months, POESY members go on strike on days when the government is ready to do something that is not good for the people, such as voting unpopular bills in parliament or making proposals to creditors that would cause citizens’ reactions. And this is very suspicious.
The suspicions are not unfounded. In early April, the disciplinary board of the Journalists’s Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA) punished three journalists with temporary suspension because in the infamous July 2015 referendum they took a stance in favor of Greece signing a bailout agreement with creditors. It should be noted that at the time of the referendum, the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government had launched a campaign asking citizens to vote “No” to a deal with creditors. Thereby, by punishing the three journalists, who in their editorials are openly critical of the government, ESIEA showed that it supports the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition. And blatantly so, as the suspension of the opposing voices showed.
This weekend, the press will be absent from a very important moment. With the pretext that journalists go on strike because their social security fund is going to be absorbed by a national social security fund, like it happens for almost all other professionals, the Greek public will be in the dark for two days.
Adding to that, the fact that the government took away the powers of the independent National Council for Radio and Television and gave them to State Minister Nikos Pappas, who now acts as mass media overlord, indicate that more dark days are coming for the Greek press and public information.

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